Master of Public Health in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences

The MPH in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences program prepares students for an applied public health career. Students learn community-engaged strategies, social and behavioral concepts to assess the health status of populations, apply social/behavioral theory, use social/behavioral science research methods to evaluate health promotion programs as well as develop programmatic and policy recommendations for improvement, and communicate with other researchers, communities, and policymakers. The emphasis is on student learning and practicing assessment and research skills in the context of social and behavioral change at the individual, organizational, and community levels.


Graduates assume positions in a variety of public health and related organizations. A number of graduates have taken on leadership roles in the global health arena.

Recent graduates hold the following positions:

  • Preparedness training and exercise coordinator for a county health department
  • Director of a statewide HIV/AIDS education program
  • Program director with an international relief agency
  • Health coach for a national health insurance and medical provider
  • Evaluation and research director for a regional reproductive health program
  • Program officer for a local philanthropic foundation
  • Research associate with a university-based applied research team
  • Health promotion/education coordinator for the local office of a national prevention and advocacy organization
  • Director of a center for rural health
  • Patient services manager at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Research and evaluation specialist for a large urban school district

Recent Essay and Thesis Titles

  • Labor doula care for survivors of sexual violence
  • Inspiring students to pursue science: a program evaluation of Pitt summer science outreach
  • Exploring the association between eating a whole food plant-based diet and reducing chronic diseases: a critical literature synthesis
  • Components and experiences of doulas working with disadvantaged mothers
  • Previously incarcerated transgender women: experiences, needs, and resiliencies
  • Effects of LGBTQ-inclusive sex education on mental health and experiences of bullying among U.S. high school students
  • Evaluation of Public Health Nursing Recruitment and Retention at a Local Health Department


Graduates will be able to...

  • Describe strategies for engaging communities and systems in advancing research and improving health through collaboration, partnerships and strengths-based approaches;
  • Synthesize and apply established and novel social and behavioral methods and tools to advance research and improve population health;
  • Apply health education and health promotion theories to the development of programs that take into account the context in which they will be implemented;
  • Develop a mechanism-based causal framework that applies a systems science approach and integrates relevant theory; and
  • Apply modeling and simulation to social processes.

All graduates also achieve the core and cross-cutting competencies for Pitt Public Health MPH students.


  • 45 credits, including coursework, practicum experience, and thesis/essay
  • Foundational public health courses
  • Advanced courses in health communications, program planning, and health education/health promotion theories
  • On-site 200-hours public health practicum experience
  • Thesis or essay research in an area of specialization

Full program information

MPH Student Handbook
MPH Checklist
Thesis and Essay Checklist



Elizabeth Felter
Director, MPH program
6122 Public Health
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Paul J. Markgraf
Academic Administrator
1138 Public Health
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

MPH Student News


A teen created a TikTok to help those with disordered eating, BCHS's Beth Hoffman weighs in. 

A teen created a TikTok to help those with disordered eating, BCHS's Beth Hoffman weighs in.

BUZZFEED NEWS - While this trend can be profoundly helpful in destigmatizing EDs and mental illnesses, experts caution young people not to rely on TikTok as their primary therapy. "Eating disorders thrive in isolation, so eating with other people is often very helpful for those in recovery," added ... (11/03/2020)

Understanding and Addressing the COVID-19 Infodemic 

Understanding and Addressing the COVID-19 Infodemic

Since the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, social media misinformation appears to be spreading faster than the virus itself, prompting the WHO to declare an "infodemic" of misinformation. During this conversation, BCHS's Steve Albert and Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19 '23) will discuss h... (05/30/2020)

BCHS alum Arnold on harm-reduction during the coronavirus shutdown 

BCHS alum Arnold on harm-reduction during the coronavirus shutdown

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER/SPOTLIGHT PA - At Prevention Point Pittsburgh, staff have been trying to raise awareness of COVID-19 for weeks. “If someone shows symptoms, they’re given gloves, a face mask, and extra harm reduction supplies so they can self-quarantine,” said executive director Aaron Arnold (... (03/31/2020)

Totoni and Fabisiak examine lead contamination in hunted meat 

Totoni and Fabisiak examine lead contamination in hunted meat

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS - MPH student Samantha Totoni (EOH '21), associate professor James Fabisiak, and BCHS's Martha Ann Terry look into lead contamination in hunted meat. Despite the mounting concerns over lead exposure from wild game, lead ammunition use continues as hunters and their familie... (03/11/2020)

MMPH alumna recognized for innovation in community nursing 

MMPH alumna recognized for innovation in community nursing

PITT NURSE MAGAZINE - Claudia Kregg-Byers RN, MPH (MMPH ’14), PhD teaches her senior students in Pitt Nursing’s Department of Health and Community Systems that health doesn’t begin and end at the bedside but encompasses where someone comes from—a whole confluence of communal and individual factors:... (03/11/2020)

Beth Hoffman, using systems science and social media data 

Beth Hoffman, using systems science and social media data

Doctoral student Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19 '23) uses system science methods to analyze social media data related to health topics such as vaping and vaccination. Her master's thesis examining anti-vaccine sentiment on Facebook through social network analyses was featured by multiple media outlets incl... (03/05/2020)
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